Retail Council of Canada encouraged by Minister of Finance commitment, holds back applause for credit card networks clearing modest "two-foot bar"

    September 15, 2016

    Retail Council of Canada, on behalf of merchants across Canada, is encouraged by the Minister of Finance's commitment yesterday to review the credit card marketplace in Canada.

    Retail Council of Canada has been the main advocate for a regulated solution to the credit card fee problem and welcomes this opportunity to shine a light on the multi-billion dollar costs imposed on all Canadians, including merchants, by Visa and MasterCard.

    Simply put, credit card interchange fees are far too high, with the credit card duopoly charging merchants in Canada – and ultimately Canadian consumers – five times what they charge in other markets for the same services.

    Retail Council of Canada has been the driving force and the most vocal advocate for regulating a cap on merchant credit card fees. Our retail members, from small independent main street merchants to mid-large global multinationals, pay fees that are punishing to their business and ultimately are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

    "These excessive interchange rates mean that Canadian consumers pay at least $4.5 billion more for all credit purchases each year than they would if our rates were comparable to those in the EU," said Karl Littler, Vice President of Public Affairs at Retail Council of Canada. "At the current 1.50% average rate, over the four remaining years of the voluntary agreement, Canadians will pay at least $18 billion more than they should."

    As to the networks' reports on their level of compliance with their "voluntary agreement" (MasterCard 1.5187%, Visa 1.5183%), Retail Council of Canada does not think that the variance of a few basis points from the Networks' existing cap of 1.50% is particularly important. "Nobody gets a medal for clearing a two-foot bar," said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO of the Retail Council of Canada. "The real issue is an absence of both competition and regulation that has allowed the credit card networks to overcharge merchants in Canada with fees five times what they should be," Ms. Brisebois added.

    About Retail Council of Canada
    Retail is Canada's largest employer with over 2 million Canadians working in our industry. In 2015, the sector generated payroll over $59 billion and $340 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline). Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members' represent more than two-thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. @RetailCouncil

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